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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Brazilian Tapir: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Find out more about this animal by reading Brazilian tapir facts.

Brazilian tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) are one of the weirdest yet sweet creatures that are known, belonging to the family of horse, zebra, and rhinoceros. The Brazilian tapir (tapir tapirus) has one of the most distinguishing features, that is their snout that resembles the trunk of an elephant and is long and mobile, making it much easier for these creatures to find and eat the tastiest fruits and leaves from a variety of trees. The other breeds of this species are mountain tapir, the Malayan tapir, and Baird's tapir. Brazilian tapirs (tapir tapirus), like many other animals, are known to be nearing extinction as per IUCN Red List. Brazilian tapir habitat loss is regarded as one of the reasons for it becoming a threatened species. They are usually found in different areas of Asia, Central America, and South America and have been hunted over the years for their skin and meat.

As per NCBI, the Brazilian tapir taxonomy ID is 9801. Detailed analysis of a Brazilian tapir skeleton reveals that their skull has a unique form as compared to other creatures of the species. Let’s read some of the other interesting facts and things about Brazilian tapir that will make you love it even more. You may also check out pot belly pig facts and tamandua facts if you wish to know about different animals in our animal kingdom.

Brazilian Tapir Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Brazilian tapir?

The Brazilian tapir, also known as the Lowland tapir, belongs to the family of Tapiridae and order Perissodactyla. They are known by people to resemble and look something like pigs that have trunks but are actually believed and known to be related to the family of zebra, horse, and rhinoceros.

What class of animal does a Brazilian tapir belong to?

The Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris) belongs to the class of mammals and is known to give birth to their young ones.

How many Brazilian tapirs are there in the world?

There are around four different species of tapir that are found all over the world, including Malayan tapir, Mountain tapir, Baird's tapir and Brazilian tapir. The Brazilian tapirs are very rare in the forest and have been classified as vulnerable since 2000. Their population is depleting day by day and has almost reached around 3000 Brazilian tapirs that are recorded to be in the wild. Almost all the species of tapirs have been in danger of extinction for many years back and their number is said to vary depending upon the species of tapir you are talking about.

Where does a Brazilian tapir live?

Brazilian tapirs are one of the creatures that live in a variety of wide-ranging habitats and environments.  They are usually found in forest regions of Central America, and South America along with Baird's tapir, but their population has been depleting since many years back. They are usually found in areas and forest regions of Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and other South American countries. Other species called the Malayan tapir are largely found in forests of Burma, India, Vietnam, and other south Asian nations.

What is a Brazilian tapir's habitat?

As we have already discussed, there are around four or five different species of tapir that are found around the world. They are known to have really diverse habitats, and are mostly found in Central and South America, primarily Brazil. Brazilian tapirs are really flexible with their habitat and are known to reside in the woods, rainforests, grasslands, and even mountains as long as it has a good water source near it. Usually, they are great swimmers and divers, which explains their love for the water.

Who do Brazilian tapirs live with?

Although we have seen that there are around five different species of tapirs that are found around the world, tapirs are known to be really social creatures that graze together in groups called the candle.  However, Brazilian tapirs are just the opposite of what normal tapirs are. They don’t live in groups and are known to reside alone. Though, to find water and vegetation, they follow the trails created by feet of other animals. They prefer to live near their food source like leaves, fruits, and other types of plants.  

How long does a Brazilian tapir live?

A Brazilian tapir, also referred to as Lowland tapir, has a relatively longer lifespan as compared to other land mammals. They are amongst one of the species that are known to live till they are around 30-35 years of age in captivity whereas in the wild they will live around till they are 25-30 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

Female Brazilian tapirs are known to reach their sexual maturity when they are around three years old, which is earlier than males who reach sexual maturity when they are around four years old. Although Brazilian tapirs are known to mate all throughout the year, they prefer to mate during or around the rainy season. If they mate successfully, the female Brazilian tapir becomes pregnant and is known to have a gestation period of around 13 months. After the gestation period is completed, the female gives birth to a Brazilian baby tapir is born. Brazilian tapirs are amongst the mammals and are known to give birth to their offspring, and also, the female Brazilian tapir has the capacity to carry only one calf at once in her stomach.

What is their conservation status?

Brazilian tapirs are one of the largest land mammals in South America which have been depleting drastically over years. They have been listed under the IUCN Red List and are declared as threatened species with only a population of around 3000 being left, which is soon to become extinct if they are hunted or killed. Efforts are being organized for conservation of this endangered species, and special norms have been formed to safeguard this species of tapirs.

Brazilian Tapir Fun Fact

What do Brazilian tapirs look like?

So as we all can see, Brazilian tapirs are weird-looking animals that have round bodies with stubby tails and short legs. They are almost the same size as a donkey but are known to resemble a pig and elephant but have a body structure similar to that of a hippo. Brazilian tapirs also have four toes on both of their front feet, while they have only three toes on their back feet. There are around five different species of tapirs, and all of them have different colors and adaptations as suited to their environment. Brazilian tapir fur color can take various shades of brown color and is covered with darker colored hair. The offspring are born with a brown fur having white spots and stripes. These stripes fade away as they reach adulthood. This helps them easily camouflage in the vegetation to be safe from predators.

A Brazilian tapir head resembles that of a pig.

How cute are they?

Baby Brazilian tapirs or calves are definitely high up amongst the cutest animal babies along with many in the animal kingdom. They are actually very cute and resemble watermelons when they are young as they have dark skin with white and yellow spots as well as strips all over its body.

How do they communicate?

Brazilian tapirs are really expressive creatures and make varied sounds and vocals to display different messages. They can produce shrieking sounds to express fear, distress, or pain and make clicking noises to identify themselves to conspecifics, especially during the mating season. They are also known to express aggression through puffing noises and nasal snorts.

How big is a Brazilian tapir?

Brazilian tapirs are really huge creatures with weird-looking features. They are one of the largest land mammals of South America. Their size can range between 6-8 ft while the height can vary between 2.4-4 ft.

How fast can a Brazilian tapir run?

Brazilian tapirs are really active creatures and can almost run at a speed of 30 mph when they sense danger or while running away from any predator.

How much does a Brazilian tapir weigh?

A Brazilian tapir (lowland tapir) is one of the largest land mammals of South America and weighs around 330-700 lb. The females are usually smaller than the male species of Brazilian tapirs. A Brazilian tapir baby weighs around 16 lb at the time of birth.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Like most of the other animals, Brazilian tapirs have no specific names given to their male and female species. They are commonly regarded as male Brazilian tapir and female Brazilian tapir.

What would you call a baby Brazilian tapir?

A Brazilian tapir is a mammal that is known to give birth to their young ones. They are known to give birth to one baby at once, and their young one or baby is called a calf, just like that of many other animals.

What do they eat?

Brazilian tapirs have a herbivorous diet. The Brazilian tapir diet primarily comprises a variety of plants, fruits, leaves, shoots, buds, and vegetation as well. They are also absolute fans of berries, plums, and bananas, which regularly feature in their diet.

Are they friendly?

Well yeah, Brazilian tapirs are really friendly and innocent animals. They are gentle and docile but are also known to attack out of sight, which makes them a bit unpredictable. Rather, Brazilian tapirs that are brought up on farms are really sweet and like to engage with humans or appreciate human contact but otherwise can be really unpredictable, which can cause injuries.

Would they make a good pet?

In ancient times, Brazilian tapirs were groomed and bred on farms in order to obtain their skin, leather, and meat out of them. But since 2000, Brazilian tapirs have been regarded as endangered species and have been listed as near to being extinct by IUCN. Efforts for the conservation of their population are going on.  Having a Brazilian tapir pet animal is not a good idea, since their capture is banned in most countries. Moreover, these creatures are much more suited and adapted to living with other wildlife where their diet and lifestyle requirements are taken care of.

Did you know...

A South American tapir is usually found in the forests, mountains, but they also roam around and explore other places in the wild, including rainforest and mountains, as long as they are near a water resource.

One of the main fruits that Brazilian tapirs absolutely love is bananas.

They have a really unique method of communication which is whistling.

Can Brazilian tapirs swim?

One of the other impressive qualities that are displayed by Brazilian tapir is its swimming skills. They are known to prefer a variety of habitats including forests and mountains based on their variety of species. Brazilian tapirs try to find and live near water resources to aid them in their needs and are reputed as great swimmers and divers. They are very familiar with water and usually run in water to either escape their predator or to just have fun. They also have specialized noses and spout to make it possible for them to breathe underwater.

What is special about a Brazilian tapir's nose?

Their most distinctive feature is their snout, as it is almost as flexible as an elephant's trunk and resembles the same. However, the Brazilian tapir’s trunk is actually its upper lip and nose that has the capacity to grab things with their trunks, somewhat like an elephant also use them to pluck leaves and fruit out of trees.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including plains zebra, or pony facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Brazilian tapir coloring pages.

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